Chronotope Project: Event Horizon

chrono_eventFrom its very first notes, Chronotope Project’s Event Horizon shoots straight into my spacemusic pleasure centers and starts pinging them with glistening, rapid-fire sequencer underscored by soft pads. Which, if it stayed that way, would be more than okay by me. But that’s not composer Jeffrey Ericson Allen’s plan here. Listen carefully–beneath the spacey overtones of the opening track, “Unwinding the Dream,” there are natural sounds, birdsong and a trickling stream. This is a release that is out there and right here at the same moment, ambient grace balanced with electronic energy, acoustic elements arriving to open it up and unfold it into something even richer and more engaging. All in all, it is  a cool glide through comfortable territory and I am inclined to just let it keep going. As always, Allen goes deep with the details, making headphone listening a must. The flow is smooth as the composer slips us easily from the guitar-accented deep-space of “Akashic Love Songs”–the rich twang of nylon strings feeling so solid and real in the waking-dream environs–into the strong pulse and glitch feel of “Arecibo.” That track catches me straight out of the gates with its sheer presence, amplified by the quieter space I’ve just left, then pulls me in deeper into its rich and swirling background. Muted vocal drops, a ringing sound that comes and goes, mixed breaths of pads, all finding their way around the insistent setup of the glitchy core. And while it’s not my intention to go track-by-track here, the way this ushers us into the quietly burbling and clearly breathing flow of “No Birth, No Death” is absolutely perfect. This, I think, is what works best for me on this superb release. Allen is in complete control of the dynamics, and they feel perfectly thought out. The shifts are absolutely seamless. It’s not, “Wait, a minute ago we had beats and now we don’t,” it’s “I like this place you’ve taken me, and I hardly noticed you took me here.” That’s something I quite enjoy, and to me it’s a hallmark of a good artist. The tracks are distinct in style and stand very much on their own, yet they’re remarkably cohesive as a whole. There’s a lot to explore here, from the charming gurgle and hush of “Automatic Writing” (let’s see you try to not bob along with this one) to the starlight-spattered spacemusic perfection of the title track.

Event Horizon, in my opinion, is Allen’s best work as Chronotope Project to date and an absolute must-hear for spacemusic fans. Let it loop, and let it take you as far as you want to go. A wonderful release.

Available from Relaxed Machinery.

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